I was sure it had something to do with sociopathy, but I was assured it doesn’t.
As I’ve mentioned previously I was sent to a psychologist/psychiatrist at an early age. I was a pre-adolescent. I didn’t say it, but I agreed that there was something different about me. The first doctors didn’t really work out. Then finally one treated me like an adult and things changed a bit. When the therapy ordeals began I got my hands on a DSM III. I went through the many options of personality disorder. I flirted with sociopathy for a while. The symptoms are:
- failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviours as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest; (maybe not this one)
- deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure; (or this one)
- impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead; (true at the time but not any more)
- irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults; (I decided verbal assaults counted)
- reckless disregard for safety of self or others; (certainly)
- consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behaviour or honour financial obligations; (certainly didn’t always do my homework)
- lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another (and also certainly)
You only need three of the symptoms to qualify; But then it ended with: The individual is at least aged 18 years old. That ruled me out, at least for a few years. My doctor insisted the DSM wasn’t a menu I could just pick from, but seemed impressed I’d taken an interest. My social interactions haven’t changed much since pre-adolescence. I feel a bit like I’m missing a gene. I don’t get the same pleasure from being in the presence of other people as most people seem to. Hence, sometimes I wonder if this pleasure is the result of a social construct, like the idea that parents always love their children (see Scott Forbes, a Natural History of Families), or if it’s genuine. I’m inclined to think it’s a social construct. When I observe social interactions (of the more bourgeois variety) I see (invariably) giver/taker relationships. Quite unlike amorous relationships which seem to have a more genuine desire of/for emotional complementation. When we first mentioned moving to France a few people said we shouldn’t, that we were a group, that they would consider buying a property wherever we went. I was quite astonished. I don’t feel that sort of connection, that would make me consider moving, to anyone but Mike. Again, I think, because the amorous social contract works well for me. There are no competing agendas. That doesn’t mean I don’t like people or don’t enjoy having conversations, just that general social interaction seems terribly futile (to me). I think that’s why blogging has appealed to me so much. It’s controlled and formatted. When an idea is stupid, I can just move along, or delete it if it came from me. When an idiot says something, I’m not obliged to smile and follow standard social norms. I find social norms suffocating. My doctor insisted that this aspect of my personality (unlike others) wasn’t pathology-related. My highs and lows can be explained by the DSM; My desire for never having to emotionally interact with a single person at a time in life cannot. Although I do enjoy formatted (written) intellectual interaction. It would have been quite nice if there were a diagnosis and I could have put a name to it and got a pill to treat it. It would’ve made mine and other people’s lives much easier. As it stands I have to endeavour to make sense out of it which leaves me with explanations like I’m emotionally parsimonious or I’m cold and uncaring. Other times I think it’s a quantitative issue. I put 100% of my energy into one relationship, so there’s nothing left for anyone else.